Letter from Jewish Leaders and Rabbis to Candidates for NYC Office

As the election season in New York City gets underway, candidates often seek to stand out of the crowd through policy positions that, they hope, important constituencies will find appealing.

One such example are candidates looking to win votes in Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox communities, who in the name of “religious freedom” have pledged not to enforce minimum educational standards in their schools/Yeshivas.

As Rabbis and Jewish leaders in New York City, we want to make the following clear.

Every child deserves a basic education. To deny that right in the name of religious freedom is unacceptable.

To state the obvious: Our religion does not require that kids be denied a basic education. Including or expanding time spent on secular education does not detract from a robust curriculum of religious studies. Secular education and Judaic studies can coexist—as can be seen in many Jewish day schools, Modern Orthodox yeshivas, and indeed many ultra-Orthodox girls’ schools.

The economic and social consequences of not receiving a basic education are tragically apparent. The barriers faced by those who attended yeshivas that provided little to no secular education are enormous.

Students in Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox yeshivas are as deserving as every other child in New York of a sound basic education that will allow them to reach their full potential.

A basic Jewish tenet is to obey the law of the land, and since 1894, New York State law has mandated that private schools provide an education that is “at least substantially equivalent” to that of public schools.

We ask candidates for public office to support the rights of students to receive a basic education, regardless of the type of school they attend.

Signed,

RabbiElchananWeinbach
Rabbi ProfessorBurtonVisotzky
RabbiSimkha Y.Weintraub
Dr.ShlomoNoskow
RabbiDavidGedzelman
RabbiMikeMoskowitz
Board President, YAFFEDAnitaAltman
Mr.PeterFrey
KarynGershon
neonRuthMessinger
Ms.JudyBalaban
MsSusanThal
RabbiJeremyKalmanofsky
Dr.JudithPlaskow
Dr.BruceVladeck
MsLorraineAltman
RabbiJosé RolandoMatalon
RabbiFeliciaSol
MsMichalBowen
Ms.CarinneLuck
RabbiShulamithPassow
MrShachnaRosen
MSLorraineAltman
Former member New York City Councilronnieeldridge
TeacherDebraBigelisen
Letty CottinPogrebin
Ms.JenniferBleyer
MsAlisonPepper
Mrs.Nancy WGreenblatt
PaulGolin
Dr.DebraKalmuss
MsCaroleHarrison
Ms.SallyGottesman
Dr.BarbaraKane
DrMarthaAckelsberg
RabbiSHARONKLEINBAUM
Dr.OscarCohen
RabbiIrving yitzGreenberg
Ms.LaniSanto
RabbiYsoscherKatz
Associate RabbiAndyKahn
RabbiAndyBachman
RabbiGordonTucker
RabbiRabbi MarcAngel
RabbiDeenaGottlieb
Rabbi Dr.DanielBronstein
Mr.GilKulick
MsEstherCohen
Mr.RobertKlein
Dr.ElaineKlein
MsBarbaraDobkin
SandyCheiten
Ms.JudithBass
Executive DirectorAudreySasson
Ms.SabrinaFarber
MrRobertBerman
Ms.ElizabethMandel
Ms.JolieSchwab
Ms.MerylMeisler
RebeccaHia
Mr.CharlesBlank
RabbiSarahReines
RabbiAviadBodner
AnnetteOrenstein
DanielaKogan
Ms.Noreen DeanDresser
Ms.Susan E.Meyer
Ms.carolcrossen
Ms.HestherWeisberger
Mrs.Esther AnnAsch
Rabbi Dr.BaratEllman
DrMichelleFriedman
Ms.HestherWeisberger
rabbisamuelweintraub
Ms.NancyKaufman
VictorKovner
RabbiAbbyStein
RabbiEmilyCohen
RabbiLaurenGrabelle Herrmann
RabbiRachelTimoner
Mr.Peter AGeffen
Mx.JerichoVincent
BenHirsch
Clinical DirectorMordechaiLevovitz
RabbiYosefBlau
RabbiSamuelKastel
MsVictoriaCook
RabbiJillJacobs
Rabbi Dr.ShmulyYanklowitz
RabbiBarryKornblau
RabbiEliyahuTeitz
RabbiBrianDenker
RabbiAvramMlotek
RabbiDavidAdelson
RabbiSamReinstein
PhyllisTeicher Goldman
Dr.StanAltman
RabbiGuyAustrian
Prof.EsterFuchs
RabbiJonathanLeener
RabbiLindaShriner-Cahn
JohnRuskay

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